By Sonya Campbell
Killeen Daily Herald
The Texas Peace Officers Memorial Bike Trek rolled into Bell County on Wednesday morning, with more than a dozen cyclists making stops in Nolanville and Harker Heights to honor their own.
Each stop on their route, which encompasses about 2,300 miles, is a community that lost a peace officer who died in the line of duty the previous year.
Their mission is to honor the officers, as well as their families, friends, co-workers and the communities they served.
The ride began April 20 in El Paso and will culminate Monday in Austin with the State Memorial Ride for the Fallen.
In Nolanville, the cyclists, joined by local police and community leaders, saluted Officer Patrick "Pat" Sirois and paid their respects to his widow, Karen.
Sirois, who served as a police officer at Fort Hood and as a reserve officer for the Nolanville Police Department, died Nov. 23, 2010, after being struck by a vehicle while assisting a motorist along U.S. Highway 69 in McIntosh County, Okla. He was 50.
Just down the road Wednesday at Carl Levin Park in Harker Heights, tribute was paid to Officer Andrew J. Rameas, who was killed Dec. 20, 2010, in a motorcycle wreck while escorting a funeral procession through Killeen. The Army veteran had served with the Harker Heights Police Department for 16 months. He was 33.
Overall, 23 peace officers will be honored for their service and sacrifice during this year's bicycle trek across Texas.
For more information about the effort or the fallen officers, go to www.txbikecops.org.